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The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary hospital, research, and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals and the study of their health. Since 1975, the Center has rescued and treated more than 16,500 marine mammals and has accumulated a body of knowledge about marine mammal and ocean health. Through public education about marine mammals, the Center hopes to foster ocean stewardship and conservation. For more information, visit http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Malnourished Sea Lions' Mystery

"Fruitvale" is a young California sea lion patient that was rescued from the northbound lanes of I-880 in Oakland, CA on June 22. The one-year-old pup is suffering from malnourishment and is being treated at The Marine Mammal Center. Photo: The Marine Mammal Center.

In recent weeks, The Marine Mammal Center has rescued hundreds of young California sea lion pups that are stranding as a result of malnourishment up and down the coast between San Luis Obispo and Mendocino Counties. This is almost double the number of rescues compared to last year at this time. Volunteers and staff are working at a feverish pitch to respond to all of the rescue calls from the public and are even triaging patients temporarily in the Center's Monterey and Morro Bay facilities. Animal care volunteers are also working hard to feed and care for the patients on site, pulling 10 hours shifts or more each day. The majority of these pups are just skin and bones and nearly half are dying as a result of medical conditions resulting from malnourishment.

Scientists are not sure why the sea lions are not finding the fish they would normally eat such as anchovies and sardines, but it appears that a higher number of sea lion pups were born in the Channel Islands last year and the competition for food sources that have dwindled or moved elsewhere, is now fierce causing many of the pups to come ashore weak and with little or no energy to return to the water. Officials with NOAA say it's too early to confirm that an El Nino phenomenon is happening. During those conditions, the seal lions' food sources tend to go deeper and further north. Sea lion pups mostly feed along the California coast.

Visit our website to learn how you can get involved today to help these sea lion pups get a second chance at life!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, that was interesting. Looks like somethings will always remain mystery.

I myself has been trying to solve the mystery of the legend that forces you to have "earn it before

having it", for a wile now. Could not understand much though.

Let me know in case you get to understand the mystery of the Old Hound and the Legend

By the way, good writing style. I'd love to read more on similar topics

Anonymous said...

We took our family vacation in Monterey and just got back July 11th. While we were in Monterey, I noticed the ill health of the seal lion pups. You could see many exposed back bone, very sad. I hope that the cause can be found and something can be done. It's sad to see and many people thought the pups were friendly, but they were just weak and can still deliver a nasty bite.

Jackowiak Family said...

Wow how sad. My husband and I took vacation with our two small children to Santa Cruz last weekend to see the Ocean for the first time and from our Hotel room we could see a sea lion on shore barley moving for hours. Not being around these sort of animals before we weren't sure if it was sick or if it was just resting. Being from a farm my gut was telling me he needed help. We actually went down the shore to him and took some pictures and thats when I knew something was not right. He could care less to move or make a noise. When we got back to our hotel room to figure out who to contact we seen a man from the Marine Mammal Center off to save the poor thing. Hats off to you for your compasion and loyalty to these animals!! I couldn't imagine my children ( who are madly in love with animals) waking up the next day to see the sight of this animal dead with no help. We sat and watched the rescue and took pictures from our phone. Brought me to tears and still can't get the sight out of my head. I hope he made it! We will pray for some answers.

Monterey Bay Pacific Coast LifeStyles Network said...

Because Sealions are now protected in Monterey Bay and surounding area's there's many more of them and less fish. Still there's more than enough fish in the sea to feed them, so yes it could be a mystery except maybe when sealions go fishing the larger ones get the the food supply first. This could be what is happening and the smaller one give up.

Anyways great info....If you get time come by and say hi at my Monterey Site Monterey City and Monterey Bay Pacific Coast Network
Thanks Lavern Williams..I'll be foolowing your site for more updates